What Is Exemestane?

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This medication is used to treat certain types of breast cancer (such as hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer) in women after menopause. Exemestane is also used to help prevent the cancer from returning. Some breast cancers are made to grow faster by a natural hormone called estrogen. Exemestane decreases the amount of estrogen the body makes and helps to slow or reverse the growth of these breastcancers.

How to use Exemestane

Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using exemestane and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily with food (after a meal), or as directed by your doctor.

Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnantor who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets. (See also Precautions section.) Inform your doctor right away if your condition worsens (such as you get new breastlumps).

Side Effects Of Exemestane 

Hot flashes, hair loss, joint/bone/muscle pain, tiredness, unusual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: bone fractures, mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety), vaginal bleeding, persistent nausea/vomiting,weakness on one side of the body, vision changes, sudden/severe headache.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat/neck), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

  • new or unusual bone pain;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion; or
  • chest pain, sudden numbness or weakness, sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance.
  • Common side effects may include:
  • hot flashes;
  • headache, tired feeling;
  • joint pain;
  • nausea, increased appetite;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • increased sweating.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat/neck), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.Some products that may interact with this drug include: estrogens (such as ethinyl estradiol, conjugated estrogens), estrogen blockers (such as anastrozole, tamoxifen), raloxifene.Other medications can increase the removal of exemestane from your body, which may affect how well exemestane works. Examples include drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), St. John’s wort, among others.

Exemestane Precautions

Before taking exemestane, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high blood fats (cholesterol), bone problems (such as osteopenia, osteoporosis), stroke or blood clots, heart disease (such as chest pain, heart attack, heart failure), high blood pressure, kidney problems, liver problems. This drug may make you dizzy and tired. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

This medication must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Exemestane is used mainly in women after menopause. If you are near menopause or have not gone through menopause and your doctor has prescribed this for you, discuss with your doctor whether you need to use reliable forms of birth control. If you do, continue using birth control for 1 month after stopping treatment with this medication. Do not use birth control products containing estrogen. Consult your doctor for more details. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away. (See also How to Use section.)

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for 1 month after stopping treatment. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: estrogens (such as ethinyl estradiol, conjugated estrogens), estrogen blockers (such as anastrozole, tamoxifen).

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking exemestane it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have not yet gone through the menopause, or if there is a possibility you could be pregnant.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you have a loss of bone density, or ‘brittle bones’ – a condition known as osteoporosis.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about exemestane and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • Take one 25 mg tablet of exemestane each day, exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • Swallow the tablet with a drink of water, preferably after a meal.
  • You can take exemestane with whichever meal of the day you find easiest to remember, but try to take your doses with the same meal each day. This will help you to remember to take exemestane regularly.
  • If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, take it (with a snack or something to eat) as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose from the previous day and take the dose that is due as normal. Do not take two doses on the same day to make up for a missed dose.
  • Continue to take the tablets regularly each day until your doctor tells you otherwise. You may need to take exemestane for a number of years.

Exemestane dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

25 mg orally once a day

Comment:
-This drug should be administered after a meal.

Uses:
-Adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive early breast cancer who have received two to three years of tamoxifen and are switched to exemestane for completion of a total of five consecutive years of adjuvant hormonal therapy.
-Treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women whose disease has progressed following tamoxifen therapy.

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor and clinic. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Exemestane lowers the levels of female hormones in your body, which can reduce the strength of your bones. You may need to have bone density tests to check for this before and during your treatment.
  • If you are due to have an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking exemestane.
  • If you buy any medicines ‘over the counter’, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your prescribed medicines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with exemestane. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer’s information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following become troublesome.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

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